continuing on through the difficulties

So many disappointments and perplexities come and go. I am terribly grieved by them. It seems like we are set in our ways and not easily changed. Change is ultimately God’s work, not our own, and yet we’re to enter and remain in that process by faith.

For me in spite of that I want to continue on in the gospel through scripture and the church. Though all around me seems to give way, and I lose heart as well, I have to keep picking up my feet and moving on, trying to find God and God’s will and help in the midst of it. It’s not easy.

That is why a monastic kind of life has much appeal to me. You do the prayers, the chants of the psalms for example, the scripture readings- day after day, no matter what. You keep doing that. And you don’t stop. And you do that in a communal, or church setting, as church.

Over time one finds they are shaped by that. But it is so incremental that it is hardly noticeable except for significantly long enough periods, say two years more or less. We are shaped both by what we are attentive to and think about, and by what we practice which includes the not doing as well as the doing.

This is not supposed to be legalistic and binding to the point of feeling condemned when we may slip up and fail to practice it. It’s rather something self-imposed, so to speak, something we choose to do. A good biblical, theological understanding of baptism helps us see that we have no choice in the matter in that we’re to live a new life out of death in and through Jesus. But that bondage is into a new freedom which doesn’t press us toward any condemnation should we run into days when we don’t follow through. We end up doing these things because we want to, not because we have to. And our want helps us through the times when we may not feel like it, actually helps us to live beyond feelings all together.

This is important for me now. I must go on regardless. God is present with us individually and together in and through Jesus.


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